This week, I return to the topic of cryptocurrency and how it relates to a richer, fuller, and easier offshore living experience. There are just so many reasons that using cryptocurrency makes sense when you are living overseas, as you’ll see from our guest columnist this week.
Michael McGillicuddy is a young expat himself, having lived in both China and Australia before the age of 32. I met Michael at the Escape Artist conference in Phoenix, Arizona, a few weeks ago. Michael was a fellow speaker talking about cryptocurrencies and their impact in the marketplace.
While so many crypto speakers tend to talk about the investment angle, Michael focused on the use and transactional aspects of crypto. While crypto has seen a wild ride, and perhaps a recent speculative bubble, the growing functionality worldwide means that it’s a currency here to stay. I believe that our only practical choice is to decide when and how to engage in this marketplace.
ECI Development, for example, already accepts payment in Bitcoin for properties in Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, and Argentina. Hardwood Unlimited, a teak reforestation company, has transacted numerous times in cryptocurrency for the Panama residency program, which includes an investment in a teak plantation. Because of the limited ability today to transact in crypto, both companies do convert to fiat currency immediately. That will change in the future as more and more suppliers and vendors accept cryptocurrency in that form.
Enjoy a great article where Michael discusses the four ways to use bitcoin and cryptocurrency to increase your freedom and live an international life.
Four Ways Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency are Your Friends Abroad
by: Michael McGillicuddy
When I read articles, I’m looking for information. You don’t need a “catchy” introduction to “grab your attention,” right? Didn’t think so. Let’s fly into it:
What is bitcoin and cryptocurrency?
Put simply, cryptocurrency is money not controlled by a government or central bank. Like gold or precious metals, it is your money, not a debit entry on someone’s balance sheet. Unlike gold, it is extremely easy to move.
Bitcoin is also a payment processing system like Visa or Mastercard, but without the centralized control and the corny “Priceless” commercials. It’s PayPal without the 2.9% + $0.30 fees.
Bitcoin is decentralized. That means anyone can join the bitcoin network and confirm transactions. Those people are called miners. With bitcoin, you can become a miner and be your own middleman.
In this article, I’ll explain four ways to use bitcoin and cryptocurrency to increase your freedom and live an international life.
If you don’t know yet how to get bitcoin, or you want to know more about how to use it, there are many options and many teachers. For example, you can look online or you could buy my book, The Bitcoin Startup Guide.
1. Move Your Money Around
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies help you move your money past those imaginary lines governments like to call “borders.” If you live in a land where capital controls are strict, converting your local currency for bitcoin and then reconverting it for your desired currency is one way to do that.
How do you think all of those wealthy Chinese purchased homes in Seattle, San Francisco, and Vancouver?
You will have to do your own research to figure out the optimum strategy based on your home and destination, but one place to start is at localbitcoins.com. It is basically a P2P platform with escrow. I have used it many times safely but understood how to do it first.
Moving your own capital with bitcoin and cryptocurrency will save you time and money, as you don’t need bank wires, Western Union, or any of the other legacy money transfer services. That leads to my next point:
2. Avoid Currency Conversion, Bank, ATM, and Remittance Fees
When I travel, the thing I’m most excited about is researching ways to minimize the currency conversion damage. Wow, this ATM only takes 3% and not 3% plus $5! Hey, it’s only 5 miles away from my Airbnb!
I’m joking. I can’t stand deciding how much cash to convert at the airport, scheduling an appointment with my bank (if that’s possible), wondering if I’m getting the best rate, etc.
It’s such an unnecessary inconvenience and drain on your wealth. So avoid it by using cryptocurrency.
Exchange your local fiat currency for bitcoin or the cryptocurrency of your choice.
Sell your bitcoin for the fiat currency of your destination using either a centralized exchange or P2P platform such as Local Bitcoins.
This method works best if you already have a bank account or another way to accept payment at your destination. If you don’t have that, you could ask a trusted friend to help you out.
3. Profit with Cryptocurrency Trading
I know there are a lot of scam trading services. However, if you learn this skill yourself, you can make a lot of money. Learn the basics of technical analysis, charting, Fibonacci retracements, moving averages, and get familiar with the markets. Educate yourself for free at the University of YouTube. Dummy trade to learn which strategies work and which don’t.
Then get to it!
These markets move fast. There are hundreds of them going 24/7, so there are definitely profits to be made. One exceptional educational and signal service I have used personally and recommend is Cryptogasmic.
To trade, sign up for a cryptocurrency exchange. Familiarize yourself with how it works. You can sign up at many exchanges using just an email address and use them anywhere in the world* with a good internet connection, at any time.
Note: Do your due diligence on which exchanges to use and take the necessary precautions to keep your funds safe.
*China with a VPN.
4. Solar-Powered Mining
While mind-controlled “environmentalists” wring their hands over the energy use of bitcoin mining (while ignoring the biggest polluters of all, namely, governments and militaries), you can find an area with low-cost power, set up a few mining computers, and make money while you sleep.
At current prices, using legacy fossil-fuel-powered electricity, mining is not very profitable. One solution is to power your miners with solar energy. Figure out how to do this, navigate the regulatory landmines, and start cashing in.
That said, there is much more to mining than buying a computer and plugging it in. You’ll need to do your homework on proper storage, ventilation, voltage, and more. Once you learn these skills though, you can likely apply them to other areas in your life and could convert them into a mining-setup business or just help out your friends.
I tried to keep this article simple – a primer for non-experts. There is a lot to learn, but the more you understand about cryptocurrency, the more options you have. Those who know this stuff just took the time to figure it out, using free resources like Youtube, Reddit, and more.
However, if you would like someone to personally assist you, those options exist. For example, you can book me for a beginner’s consultation and I can show you what you need to know to get started using cryptocurrency.
Above all, start learning about these tools. These concepts become intuitive once you dive in. Cryptocurrencies have the power to change money and trade the way the internet changed information. Opportunities abound if you are willing to investigate.
Live free. Be free.
Michael McGillicuddy is 32 years old and moved to China in 2014. He lived in Shenzhen where he taught guitar and hosted bitcoin startup parties among other things. In 2018, he moved first to the Fujian countryside where he was interviewed for the Dollar Vigilante newsletter and then spent the last few months in Xiamen hosting an unschooling event with Dayna Martin and David Rodriguez.
Michael also lived about a year in Australia (2010-11), most of the time in the Australian outback. He’s visited all the continents except for Antarctica and lists his favorite place as Lebanon.
Thanks, Michael. Great article and wonderful food for thought as people begin to explore how and when to use cryptocurrency in their daily lives. Until next week, all the best.